British number one Johanna Konta is safely through to the next round in Miami after a shaky start against Lara Arruabarrena but then quickly cruised through the quarter final where she now faces a tough opponent in the stubborn Simona Halep but how can she get the better of the Romanian?
Simona has struggled this year to find form on the tour but has look solid this week in Indian Wells with some very good performances against Anett Kontaveit and Sam Stosur in her last couple of matches but if anything like Jo she faces her toughest test.
Simona has been good defending the baseline this week. Her serve, backhand and forehand have been solid and when rallies progress she has become more dangerous and an inevitability she will win the point. Jo has been good this week in progressing during rallies with the serve out wide being effective followed by that backhand cross court to end points quickly.
In a piece the other day I spoke about the low backhand of Halep and how it was playing well but I felt still needed some work but watching her against Stosur she seems to be hitting it really well and getting good angles off it.
The backhand in the past has been a shot that breaks down easily and this is what has haltered her progression at tournaments when players have targeted that corner but she is finding that pull on the shot right now as shown above.
Target the backhand?
It is funny to praise a shot but the backhand can be an issue for Halep under pressure. Against Stosur we saw Halep dictate but under pressure is where it can break down and I think we could see a lot of backhand to backhand rallies from Jo and Simona and if Jo can get that power and depth behind it and not allow Simona to settle she could have a chance.